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You have probably seen my dear friend, Immaculée Ilibagiza, at one of my speaking events or on one of my public television shows. She spoke at my Divine Love seminar earlier this year and will be joining me for the I Am Light event in January on Maui and a cruise to the Holy Land in September of 2015. This month her book on the saving power of prayer, The Rosary, will be released in paperback. Immaculée is awe-inspiring, and I thought I would share with you this story from my Foreword to her first book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust:
The very first moment we met, I knew in an absolute flash of insight that I was in the presence of a uniquely Divine woman. We briefly spoke after a presentation I made in New York City for the Omega Institute, and after only a second or two, she was gone from my sight—but in those few moments, I was captured. I sensed her exceptionally high energy, similar to the way I felt after having been with Mother Meera (an Indian woman who’s thought to be an incarnation of the Divine Mother) many years before.
Immaculée didn’t seek me out for assistance in having her story published—I was the one who did the seeking. That inner glow of joy and love that I felt in her company wouldn’t leave me, so I asked my daughter Skye, who had exchanged e-mail addresses with Immaculée, to please make every effort to contact her. Days turned into weeks, and there was still no communication. Each day I’d ask Skye, “Have you heard from the woman from Rwanda?”
Finally, Immaculée responded to my daughter’s inquiries, and I telephoned her immediately. I asked her one question: “Would you be willing to write your story of survival? I feel compelled to help you get the message to the world.” It was then that Immaculée told me she herself had already written down every detail of her ordeal as a Tutsi woman in Rwanda who was being hunted and marked for certain death during the genocide of 1994. She told me she felt that this was the reason why she’d been spared, but that her efforts in being published were unsuccessful, largely because English was her third language and she needed help in getting the essence of her story converted to a more readable format.
It was at this point that I asked her to send me everything she’d written, which turned out to be about 150,000 words in which she’d painstakingly recorded every detail some five years after leaving Rwanda. I made one phone call to my friend Reid Tracy, the president of Hay House, and arrangements were made to have writer Steve Erwin help Immaculée tell her story. I told Reid that I would support this project in every way possible: Not only would I write the Foreword, but I’d also help bring Immaculée and her story to all of my public appearances. In addition, I’d travel to Rwanda with her and her family and help her raise money to fulfill her mission of aiding the many orphaned children left behind when the killing finally stopped. In addition, I told Reid that I wanted to include Immaculée in my Public Television special on Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling, and that I’d do everything in my power to bring this spiritual woman’s saga to the public eye. And all of this was done because of that feeling I had when I first met her, at the back of a room full of people, for only a few moments.
It has been said that the laws of the material world do not apply in the presence of the God-realized. Time after time, Immaculée’s pure, God-realized “Inner Beingness” allowed her to erect invisible barriers so that killers with machetes who were only inches away were blinded to her physical presence. As her faith deepened, the miracles became even more astonishing. Her visualizations became so real—and all doubt was banished from her mind—that she was indeed at one with God. She knew that God was with her as she saw a cross of light bar her and her companions from certain death. Angels of love and compassion seemed to emerge out of nowhere as Immaculée intensified her communion with our Creator. She was able to stare down a determined killer and watch in certainty as he dropped his weapon and became immobilized as his contempt was converted to kindness.
And finally, as she abandoned all of her feelings of hatred and revenge toward the killers—and despite what once seemed an impossibility—she merged into Divine union with God by offering her tormentors not only compassion, but total forgiveness and unconditional love as well. Yes, she became one with Spirit, where she remains today. Her story will touch you deeply. You will feel her fear, you will cry, and you will ask yourself the same questions that we as a people have been asking forever: How could this happen? Where does such animosity come from? Why can’t we just be like God, Who is the Source for all of us? But you will also feel something else most profoundly: You will feel hope, a hope that inch by inch, we as a people are moving toward a new alignment—that is, we’re moving toward living God-realized lives.
To me, Immaculée was not only left to tell her mind-blowing story, but more than that, she’s a living example of what we can all accomplish when we go within and choose to truly live in perfect harmony with our originating Spirit. I am honored to have played a small role in bringing this staggering story to the attention of the world. I am honored to join hands with Immaculée and assist in her vision of love and compassion—not only in Rwanda, but in all places where hatred has resided for so long. And I am deeply honored to write these few words in her book that you, the reader, are about to immerse yourself in. I assure you that as you do so, you’ll move to a place just a few inches closer to living in oneness with the same Divine Essence from which we were all created.
I love this book, and I love Immaculée Ilibagiza.
Immaculée, thank you for coming into my life.
The Power of the Rosary
By Immaculée Ilibagiza
In the last moments of his life, Immaculée’s father urged her to run to a neighbor’s house for shelter. He handed her his rosary and she kept it with her in hiding. Here’s an excerpt from Immaculée’s book The Rosary,her moving account of what the rosary has meant in her life and the promise it holds for everyone who believes in prayer:
The power of the rosary will bring blessings into our lives too numerous to count. It can clear confusion from our thoughts, chase trouble from our hearts, resolve problems that plague us, restore us to health, and fill us with happiness and hope. Those are big promises to make and may sound too good to be true—I probably wouldn’t believe them myself, except that they are promises that have been fulfilled in my own life and in the lives of countless other people.
I’ve heard countless testimonials about rosary prayers transforming lives shattered by despair, healing bodies ravaged by sickness, curing addiction, and reviving hearts withered by hatred, loneliness, and betrayal. I have seen the rosary work wonders in the lives of people all over the world, be they Catholic or non-Catholic, or even those who have little to no religious belief at all. So please know that my book The Rosary is not solely for Catholics; it is a book for anyone who has faith in God and who believes prayers can be answered.
I assure you, prayers are always answered when offered by a humble, believing heart—no matter how trivial or how great the request may be. The rosary can and will bring you everything you need to live a happy and prosperous life, as long as you pray with faith and sincerity. But make no mistake, the rosary is not magic; it is faith in action. Jesus told us that with faith only the size of a mustard seed, any one of us can move mountains. The rosary is a tool that focuses our prayers and helps us develop our faith to the point that we can get those mountains moving. It is a tool that will deepen and strengthen our relationship with God, and in doing so all the treasure heaven has to offer can be ours.
As you can see, the rosary has enormous power: power that can change the world; that can defeat evil; and that, perhaps most important of all, can bring a permanent peace to our hearts. I should know. I would not be here today if not for the prayers of the rosary—which literally saved my life.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Immaculée and I am a survivor of the bloody 1994 genocide that devastated my beautiful African homeland of Rwanda. I was a 24-year-old university student when a government-backed holocaust of unimaginable evil was unleashed upon my country’s minority tribe, the Tutsis. To be Tutsi in Rwanda, like my family was, was a death sentence. In less than 100 days almost the entire Tutsi population of Rwanda—more than one million innocent men, women, and children—were mercilessly tortured, raped, and butchered during what is now acknowledged as one of the most vicious campaigns of ethnic cleansing in human history. Almost every member of my immediate and extended family was murdered during the slaughter, and so was just about every other person I had ever loved or called a friend.
I survived, thanks to the kindness of a local pastor who took mercy upon me and seven other Tutsi women by hiding us in a tiny bathroom for three months. The pastor’s kindness prevented me from being murdered, but it was the prayers of the rosary that saved my life, and my soul.
My experiences during the genocide and its aftermath is chronicled in my first two books, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust and Led By Faith: Rising from the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide. If you are interested in how faith and forgiveness became my guiding lights in a world darkened by hatred and despair, please read them both.
In The Rosary, I want share with you how praying the rosary saved my life during three months when fear and despair were my constant companions and worst enemies as killers hunted me, thoughts of suicide plagued me, and the devil whispered in my ear.
With the rosary I was, even during the darkest days of my life, able to find God and fill my heart with a love that enabled me to forgive those who killed my family and move on to lead a full and happy life. Of course, like everyone else, my life is far from perfect: I experience setbacks and heartaches, and battle my own doubts and insecurities. But I know from experience that praying the rosary will bring me closer to God, and the closer I am to Him, the more His love will sustain and uplift me, no matter how hopeless things may seem. God has promised us great things if we pray the rosary faithfully, and if I am certain of anything, it is that God never lies or fails to keep His word.
I am so devoted to the rosary and assured of its protective power that I never leave home without my beads and even sleep with them in my hand. I am not a rosary fanatic, but I am a true believer in its power to transform hearts and souls! Today as I travel the world sharing my story at seminars, conferences, and retreats, I am continually asked how I survived the genocide. My short answer is always the same: “It was the rosary. The rosary is the prayer that saved my life.”
But the rosary’s done so much more for me than that—it has given me a life filled with peace and hope, and the knowledge that if I pray it properly and with all my heart, I can overcome any obstacle and fulfill every dream. And, as you will soon discover, you can, too.
The rosary has been described as a rope that bends heaven toward Earth. It is my deepest desire that when you reach the end of my book and are joyously praying the rosary with all of your heart, you will feel that heaven really is a little bit closer.